Straphangers are used to tweeting angrily from stalled subway trains with the hope that an MTA staffer will respond and explain why their commute’s screwed up. But they’ll have the chance to take their gripes straight to the top Thursday morning in a Twitter Q&A with New York City Transit President Andy Byford.
Byford will answer commuters’ questions from 10:30 a.m. to noon Thursday on the @NYCTSubway Twitter account. The online chat session will be the first ever for the head of an MTA agency and the first in a series of monthly opportunities for commuters to question Byford directly, the transportation authority said.
Straphangers can submit questions to Byford and Sarah Meyer, New York City Transit’s new chief customer officer, by using the hashtag #AskNYCT. Other transit officials will be involved in future sessions, the MTA said.
“I think it’s important to have regular and direct contact with transit riders – that’s why I ride subways and buses everywhere and why I’m excited to do these chats,” Byford said in a statement.
The subways will be the focus of Thursday’s session, the MTA said, but Byford will address questions about “any aspect of New York City Transit.” The next chat will focus on bus and Access-A-Ride service, the MTA said.
The Twitter initiative is among Byford’s efforts to communicate more clearly and directly with commuters since taking the helm in January of the agency that runs the city’s subways, buses and paratransit service.
The MTA said Byford held similar chat sessions as the head of the Toronto Transit Commission, which he led before coming to lead the busiest subway system in the United States.
Under Byford, New York City Transit apologized about two weeks ago for an “incredibly frustrating” evening rush hour, a move that drew mixed Twitter reactions from commuters.